Originally published as Pengemannen, 2009
Vik/Stubo book 4
I borrowed this book from the library.
Anne Holt writes a couple intersecting series set in Oslo as well as standalones, and they are one of my current favorite series even though I can’t point to an individual book that’s blown me away. I’m a fan because I’m fond of the characters and, of course, I want to know how Hanne Wilhelmsen was shot and paralyzed. Because the US books were published way out of order (1222, book 8 in the Wilhelmsen series came first in the US), I’m hooked.
But back to the Vik/Stubo series. Johanne Vik is an academic who trained as a lawyer and consults with the police, and she is married to Adam Stubo, a policeman who’s first wife and child were murdered. The home-life sections of the book are quite drama-laden, or at least there is a lot that’s happened in the past, as well as Vik’s understandable anxiety about her children, particularly her neuro-atypical daughter Kristiane who is threatened in this book. In some ways it reminds me of Camilla Läckberg with the home and work sections, but the Läckberg book I have read seemed too heavy on family life. The home life is very well-balanced by the rest of the story, which involves a series of murders that are meant to look as suicides or accidental deaths excepting the Christmas Eve murder of a very popular minister. The one thing that does feel out of balance in the book is the sheer number of characters and threads in the first half of the book. I mean, I expected them to be tied together, but it was a disorienting read for a long middle stretch of the novel.
There are a few things I really like about this series: I like seeing characters who are good at what they do. I like seeing investigators who aren’t just haunted by alcohol. I like complicated plots, but ultimately I was not blown away by this particular solution.
Finally, Hanne Wilhelmsen does make an appearance, and I’ve looked up other books that haven’t been translated yet and have discovered that the fact that Holt co-authored a few installments might be holding things up. In any case, I’m tracking down as many English translations as I can find.
Finally, a note about the title. The Norwegian title is Moneyman, which gives a better sense of the conspiracy involved in the book than the English title of Fear Not, which seems to focus just on the minister’s murder, which, while important, is not the entire story. Like I said, there is a lot of plot to be unravelled.